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Managing Agile Projects [Paperback]

Sanjiv Augustine

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Book Description

May 12 2005 0131240714 978-0131240711 1
The popularity of agile development methodologies continues to increase, as developers and technical managers have seen the benefits of incorporating flexibility in development projects. However, agility advocates still struggle to gain business management support for their initiatives. The reluctance of business management to truly embrace agility stems from a disconnect between the assumptions and techniques of traditional management and those of the new agile development methodologies. The purpose of this book is to provide management a framework with supporting evidence that directly addresses this need. While conventional wisdom states that agile methods are not scaleable, the author shares proof that it can be applied to large-scale development projects. Furthermore, he aligns the adoption of agile methods to cutting-edge business management practices. The end result is a practical book that will help organizations overcome their institutional reluctance and reap the significant benefit of agile methods.

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Product Description

From the Inside Flap

Preface

When first placed in the position of leading an agile team nearly five years ago, I had precious little guidance to assist me in my job. This is the book that I wish I had then—I have endeavored to capture my subsequent experience and learning and present them in a form that is accessible to managers new to agile methodologies. Other managers more familiar with the agile landscape should enjoy it as well, albeit with the sense of the familiar. In the agile spirit of continuous learning and experimentation, I have drawn on many diverse disciplines to augment and to extend agile methodologies on my projects, including complexity theory, organizational learning, and Lean Thinking.

Although there certainly are insights within that will benefit all those who are associated with agile project teams, this is primarily a book for agile managers—those individuals who have been gifted with, or are aspiring to, the privilege and responsibility of leading agile project teams. Some of you might inquire as to how this book differs from others on the agile market. I believe that Managing Agile Projects is different in these respects:

  • It presents a holistic, systems view of project teams and the organizations that house them, especially their organizational learning aspects. It squarely addresses the role of the project manager on agile projects and presents practical ways to lead them.

  • It acknowledges the necessary balance between management and leadership, and provides insights around leadership not found in other project management material.

Although it draws primarily from XP, it incorporates several principles and practices from Scrum, Crystal, and Feature-Driven Development. It is wholly an "in-the-trenches" practitioner's view of the world of a project manager on agile projects.

I have a passion for project management, and I have discovered that it is due in large part to the deep sense of satisfaction and fulfillment, fun, and ever-fresh learning that comes with working with a peer group of skilled individuals in delivering things of great value on agile teams. I trust that reading this book will help create some of those same experiences for you.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

From the Back Cover

PRAISE FOR MANAGING AGILE PROJECTS

"In the hands of another, this class of material could become incoherent, but Sanjiv has enough intellectual power to ground his subject...Fans of APM and those who prefer new ideas as a catalyst for their management approach should find Managing Agile Projects rewarding."

Wes Balakian, Chairman and Executive Advisor, PMI eBusiness SIG

"I only wish I had read this book when I started my career in software product management, or even better yet, when I was given my first project to manage. In addition to providing an excellent handbook for managing with agile software development methodologies, Managing Agile Projects offers a guide to more effective project management in many business settings."

John P. Barnes, former Vice President of Product Management at Emergis, Inc.

"The agile software development movement evolved from a half-dozen methodologies—Scrum, Adaptive, XP, Crystal—that while different, embodied a consistent set of values and similar practices. The agile project management movement is following the same path—strength through a blend of consistency and diversity. Sanjiv's book, Managing Agile Projects, adds both—consistency and diversity—to the concepts and practices of agile project management. His book is rich in ideas and practical advice. It is a wonderful addition to the growing literature about 'alternative' styles of project management."

Jim Highsmith Sr. V.P. and Director Agile Software Development and Project Management Practice Fellow, Business Technology Council Cutter Consortium LLC, Arlington, MA

"Here is an innovative approach to the management of agile projects, examining traditional project management practices that do not align well with new agile methodologies. Augustine's alternative approaches in regard to personnel, organization, and change make this a valuable resource for project managers as well as for the customer/product owner."

Sydney H. Jammes, Retired C.I.A. Economist

"Project management has almost become a new paradigm for getting work done in most corporations around the world. This book provides a long overdue synthesis of the diverse strategies and practices in project management. The holistic and organic approach in the book combines the people factor and task complexity elements nicely and delivers an easy-to-read narrative that should be a must-read for every manager."

Tojo Thatchenkery, Professor of Organizational Learning, George Mason University

"In our work with Sanjiv Augustine in New Zealand and Australia, he has always impressed me with his practical, lucid approach to the project management idea for our times—agile project management. This book captures the essence of that approach."

Martyn Jones, Managing Director, Software Education Associates, Ltd.

"Rejoice! Sanjiv Augustine eloquently lays out a practical and elegant organic project management model for being innovative and delivering business value while maintaining a high quality of life. And in the process, he gives the world a proven alternative to mechanistic and rigid project management practices that have stifled software development and killed creativity. A brilliant piece of work."

Doug DeCarlo, author, "eXtreme Project Management: Using Leadership, Principles and Tools to Deliver Value in the Face of Volatility"

"Sanjiv Augustine's informative new book, Managing Agile Projects, takes the mystery out of bringing about the successful completion of information technology projects. His innovative, clear, and sensible approach to the management of agile projects is a must-read for all members of the implementation team, from users to developers and from consultants to managers. This work is a major contribution to the field of project management."

Martha C. Edmondson, Chief Financial Officer, African Development Foundation

"This book significantly builds on and extends agile thinking."

Jeff De Luca, creator of Feature Driven Development, www.nebulon.com

"Sanjiv brings real world, interesting experiences to his topic and conveys the essentials of project management in the new era in a way that is both entertaining and enlightening. Busting the jargon and slicing through the marketing-speak, this book is an essential tool for anyone involved in development projects today."

Shane Hastie, Chief Knowledge Engineer, Software Education Associates, Ltd.

"Managing Agile Projects extends the values and principles of more development-centric agile methodologies to project management, something essential to the creation and evolution of the truly agile organization. An excellent addition to the agile literature!"

Steve Hayes, Professional Services Manager, Internet Business Systems

"Agile Project Management, as outlined here, is a key component to building a software development organization that can effectively respond to changing market needs in a timely manner. "

Madhu Garlanka, Senior Manager, eBusiness Application Development, Nextel Communications

"Agile methods created by 'radicals' have matured into tools in common use in many organizations. Now that teams are using these methods on high-profile projects, executives are starting to ask, 'How can we manage these agile processes?' This book builds upon scientific research of complex adaptive systems to present a handbook for project managers and executives faced with the challenge of monitoring and controlling agile projects."

Kevin J.J. Aguanno, PMP®, MAPM IBM Certified Senior Project Manager IBM Global Services, IBM Canada, Ltd.

"I read this book and immediately shared it with a manager of an XP team. It's got great ideas on how to manage agile teams using a 'light touch.'"

William Wake, Independent Consultant

"Agile Project Management, as outlined here, is a key component to building a software development organization that can effectively respond to changing market needs in a timely manner."

—Madhu Garlanka, Sr. Manager, eBusiness Application Development, Nextel Communications

"In the hands of another, this class of material could become incoherent, but Sanjiv has enough intellectual power to ground his subject....Fans of APM and those who prefer new ideas as a catalyst for their management approach should find Managing Agile Projects rewarding."

—Wes Balakian, Chairman and Executive Advisor, PMI eBusiness SIG

Your Hands-On, "In-the-Trenches" Guide to Successfully Leading Agile Projects

Agile methods promise to infuse development with unprecedented flexibility, speed, and value—and these promises are attracting IT organizations worldwide. However, agile methods often fail to clearly define the manager's role, and many managers have been reluctant to buy in. Now, expert project manager Sanjiv Augustine introduces a proven management framework that addresses everything from team building to project control. Sanjiv bridges the disconnect between the assumptions and techniques of traditional and agile management, demonstrating why agility is better aligned with today's project realities, and how to simplify your transition:

  • Customizing agile methods to your unique environment implementing full-life-cycle agility: from planning and coding to maintenance and knowledge transfer

  • Learning how agile methods can scale to succeed in even the largest projects through a case study

  • Managing the flow of customer value from one creative stage to the next

  • Defining a high-value role for the manager in agile project environments

  • Refocusing on outcomes—not rigid plans, processes, or controls

  • Structuring and building adaptive, self-organizing "organic teams"

  • Forming a guiding vision that aligns your team behind a common purpose

  • Empowering your team with the information it needs to succeed

Whether you're a technical or business manager, Managing Agile Projects gives you all the tools you need to implement agility in your environment—and reap its full benefits.


© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Inconsistent, imprecise, and too much of a CCPace advertisement Aug. 14 2005
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I admired the goal of this book - to introduce the ideas of agile project management and to bridge the gap between the tomes describing methodologies and the concrete role that managers and leaders play on agile teams. A book that did that well would indeed be a worthy first gift to a new manager. Unfortunately, this isn't that book.

The inconsistent messages made it difficult to pull out concrete recommendations. For example, one of the key activities identified for a manager is to "monitor and adapt" to the team and corporate cultures. Later, though, he talks about entering situations sight-unseen with the goal to institute and enforce all of the rules of XP on a subject organization to the letter.

Lack of detail hurt the sections on catering a process to an organization. He goes into some detail on how to characterize the current culture and profile of the environment you're about to work in, but then just shows two extremes and potential "process cocktails" that might work for them. I would've loved to see, in addition, a list of the practices that you might try to roll out, and the specific elements of an organization's profile that make them more or less applicable so that a manager can come up with their own or at least know what negative experiences to expect.

Finally, the consulting company he works for comes across as some sort of omniscient savior. Either he's been extremely lucky or things are being sugar-coated. As he points out, agile projects are "chaordic" - right on the border between chaos and order. Real boats rock, and many of the best lessons in practical application come from the experiences of overcorrection or failing to act. I'd argue any significant project attempting to roll out agile methods will have some of those bumps along the way, and anyone who claims otherwise is trying to sell you something.

I did enjoy the section on creating an conveying the project vision - he's quite correct that in a situation where you're relying a lot on the team to self-organize, communicating and reinforcing that vision and the team's goals are probably the top success factor for the project.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, weak opening sections Sept. 3 2006
By James Holmes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a solid book, but suffers from a very slow start. The first quarter of the book seems filled with too much mystical hand waving and too many buzzwords. The entire opening quarter of the book is stuffed with referenecs to "chordic edges" and "holographic formal structures." A few of the buzzwords get defined and used later on, but the overabundance of them was like fingers on a chalkboard. There are also a few irritants such as charts with poor explanations, or the assertion that test-driven development is an approach "specific to XP."

Things pick up greatly after chapter 3, however. The remainder of the book is solid, very useful, and full of great information for building and maintaining a solid development team. There's a lot of great focus on bringing value to the customer, and there are practical examples for all of the various aspects of running an agile project.

You'll find handy tables and explanations detailing estimation, task backlogs and job jars, and several great discussions on how to keep communication flowing with your customer. The sections on clearly establishing service criteria at the start of the project, and the clever use of sliders to help define success critieria, were nicely done.

Overall it's a very good book. The opening three or four chapters drag down what's otherwise a solid addition to my bookshelf. I'll get a good amount of use out of the book.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical yet thought-provoking Sept. 23 2005
By Michael Cohn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a very practical yet thought-provoking book. The book brings in a lot of thinking from complex adaptive systems to bear on the problem of managing agile projects. A lot of early agile thinking was that the role of the manager was to buy pizza and get out of the way. This book shows how the role of the agile project manager goes well beyond that and provides very specific activities to be performed by agile project managers.

The book covers topics (such as how to best organize an agile team or teams) that are glossed over elsewhere. Particularly useful may be the chapter on how to transition to an agile process. Among the specific principles and activities recommended in this book are certainly some that will immediately help your current project.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical, Complete, Elegant, Intuitive July 3 2005
By F. Douglas DeCarlo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"Light Touch" is one of the key Agile Project Management practices described by Sanjiv Augustine. Among other things, Light Touch means "managing the flow of customer value ..."

And that's exactly what the author delivers in this book: a continual flow of value for the agile project manager. What I especially like about this book is that it is simply written and provides straight forward, proven and actionable advice.

I think that some of the best books are the ones that read us. As I read Mr. Augustine's model for agile project management, I find myself saying, "Yes, yes, that's what I thought I thought but hadn't put it into words."

This book is complete. One of its unique qualities is that it provides the reader with a holistic model for agile project management including sound project management practices as well as fundamental leadership practices. Most books on project management, either deal with one or the other. For agile projects, management and leadership are inseparable.

A great feature of the book is the inside front cover that serves as a snappy, bulleted overview of Mr. Augustine's entire model which is made up of Three Guiding Principles: Foster Alignment and Cooperation, Encourage Emergence and Self Organization and Institute Learning and Adaptation. Each of these principles is delineated into both project management and leadership practices. And these provide the framework for the entire book which is full of examples, specific practices and tools.

And although this book is written primarily for software projects, the principles and practices can be applied to any agile project.

Doug DeCarlo
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Managing Agile Projects June 30 2010
By Eddie Hutchinson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I fear I may have made a poor choice in choosing this book as my introduction to Agile Project Management (APM). Although the book outlines some of the main principles of Agile Methodology quite well, it often leans towards the author's area of expertise, Extreme Programming (XP). In the book's introduction it is suggested that if you were new to APM it may be a good idea to start at Chapter 10: "Transitioning From The Familiar", then return to beginning of the book. I followed the suggestion but that should've given me a clue.
On the positive side, each chapter is contains activities that can be implemented to put Agile methodology to practice. For example, in the Chapter dedicated to APM practice, Open Information, some of the activities described there include: Collocate Team Members, Use of Information Radiators, Conduct Daily Stand-Up Meetings, etc...

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